I was just thinking of those in the church I have known who were good, often exceptional members, but who seemed to believe in authority by association rather than by authority by, well…, authority. These members feel most comfortable rubbing elbows with those who have, in turn, rubbed elbows with top church authorities. They tend to value and seek out friendships with those who have high callings. They are, in a sad sense, the groupies of the gospel.
Now I am not talking about the genuine love that members have for our prophet and apostles. I am talking about those who like you better if you have a calling in front of your name that sounds important, or if you work for the church in a capacity where you occasionally talk to church authorities, of if you know some one of the top authorities in the church.
It saddens me to think of those I have known who choose this route. I mean, sure, in the world of academic mathematics if you won a fields metal I am not surprised that everybody wants to be your friend. And in the world of those who compete for wealth I am not surprised if many would immediately want to be friends with someone they discovered was inordinately rich. This is no surprise among the rich and the learned.
But really, in the gospel there is no place for this sort of artifice. If you are friends with the Bishop, that is great. If you honor the Bishop, that is great. If you want to praise the Bishop, that is great, he gets all sorts of undeserved criticism.
But there is a marked difference between supporting your leaders, and seeking to fulfill your personal vision of success by rubbing elbows with whoever has the biggest calling. The Holy Ghost will support the one, but Christ himself condemns the other.
Matthew 23: 5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
12 … whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
As saints, we certainly aren’t rebelling against Christ like those people were, but couldn’t we still follow Christ’s counsel nonetheless?